Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner)

4.2 248
by Philip K. Dick

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"The most consistently brilliant science fiction writer in the world."
—John Brunner


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.

By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and

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"The most consistently brilliant science fiction writer in the world."
—John Brunner


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.

By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.

Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in.

Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

"[Dick] sees all the sparkling and terrifying possibilities. . . that other authors shy away from."
—Paul Williams, Rolling Stone

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Random House Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.95(h) x 0.51(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep 4.2 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 248 reviews.
Hornbillette More than 1 year ago
It's easy to see how this book inspired the movie, Blade Runner, but it's plot runs differently. I found it quite enjoyable to read. It was thought-provoking on it's issues and I was very impressed with the way that the writer created a dark, empty and claustrophobic atmosphere. The human characters in the book were more complex and interesting than in the movie. On the other hand, this is not the book to read in order to figure out the movie. The movie's plot was simpler and more cohesive. The book's story line is as murky and inconsistent as the future world that the book describes. Basically, the book raised lots of new issues to think about and didn't add much to my understanding of the movie. It's a great book and I recommend it highly, if that's what you're hoping for.
RichGillock More than 1 year ago
Philip K. Dick is not so much of a science fiction writer as he is a mystery writer who sets his plots and characters in imagined future enviroments. His characters are interesting while humanly flawed and the plot twists keep you guessing and surprised. Unlike some science fiction he doesn't focus on a narrative of a future world. The details just kind of sneak out naturally as part of the plot. What the future allows Dick to do is to change the rules and see how his characters fit into that environment. But the humans still act like humans with all their flaws, and the androids, maybe more so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great story. As they always say, "the book was better than the movie." I wasn't a huge Blade Runner fan, but I really enjoyed the book. It poses the classic Scifi questions about defining life. It's a quick read; for anyone with a few hours to spare, I'd highly recommend it!
JosephCopeli More than 1 year ago
Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter on the now sparsely populated planet Earth. His job is to hunt "andys," slang for androids, that have escaped from the human colonies on Mars and Earth's Moon. The latest model of cylon, er android, the Nexus-6, is particularly wily; they resemble humans more closely than ever before. Most importantly, the Nexus-6 can almost pass a Voigt-Kampff examination, which tests an intelligent being for empathy, a quality androids don't possess. As Deckard pursues the six andys that eluded his predecessor, he finds that the line between human and android isn't as defined as he previously believed and starts to question the morality of his undertaking. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is the second Philip K. Dick work I've read (the other being A Scanner Darkly) and there is a theme that the author explores in both novels: an understanding of the quality that makes us human. In A Scanner Darkly, Dick was able to create a sympathetic character out of a double-crossing, drug-addicted undercover informant. Similarly, Dick makes sympathetic characters of his androids, showing their humanity even though they are not human. The bounty hunter Deckard starts to notice this too. Deckard begins to question his preconceptions when he is pursuing the opera singer Luba Luft. She cunningly accuses Deckard of being an android because of the ease with which he "retires" androids without feeling any empathy toward them. Deckard, of course, denies this, but a change in his attitude is revealed shortly, after Luft has been retired by Phil Resch, another bounty hunter. Deckard was touched by Luft's musical skill and starts to think that robbing the world of her talent, android or human, is insane. This is the first time Deckard feels empathy toward the "things" he hunts. Luft's death makes Deckard aware of the difference between himself and Resch. He is convinced that Resch is an android because of Resch's quick trigger finger (and his indifference to art, perhaps, as well). Deckard tells Resch, "You like to kill. All you need is a pretext. If you had a pretext you'd kill me." Despite his conviction, however, Deckard's test reveals that Resch is human. The result of the test is significant enough for both bounty hunters to try to make sense of it, with Deckard reasoning that Resch has a defect that makes him unsympathetic toward androids. Resch points out, though, that this isn't a defect; if he felt any empathy toward androids, he wouldn't be able to kill them. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Is filled with conundrums of this sort, in which the qualities that make humans human and androids android are flipped, mixed, rearranged and contemplated. Deckard, a bounty hunter, mourns a dead android and finds he has too much of the quality that androids don't possess. Those humans that can afford it use a machine to program moods for themselves; Iran, Deckard's wife, even programs depression for herself twice a month so that she feels bad about being left on Earth. John Isidore, a human whose intelligence was affected by the nuclear fallout on Earth, is considered sub-human, below the level of animals even, which are now highly sought-after because most of them died from radiation poisoning. The only friends he has are the escaped... [Due to's character limit, the rest of this review can be found at]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Books like this don't come around all the time for me. I basically like every book I read, but I don't love all of them. But this book I can honestly say is amazing. I first tried to read it in 8th grade, and got about 80 pages in before I quit. And I just now picked it up again 3 years later. Now a sophmore in highschool I can appreciate it more. It has a good message and a very comfortable style of writing. I will definitely read more Phillip K. Dick.
Baomei More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for escapism. If you've seen the movie Blade Runner and expect the same sense of intellectual challenge and ambiguity, you'd be disappointed. Not because the book is less interesting, it is just a lot more different that you'd expect. Nevertheless, it is a great sci-fi story and its short content makes it an easy read.
monkey3 More than 1 year ago
If you have never read any of Philip Dick's other books, I recommend you start here. Chances are, you have seen the film that was based on this novel (Bladerunner) and this is one of the easiest of his books to get into if you are not familiar with his style. Do not expect a lot of action, as this is a small but heady novel full of intriguing philosophical ideas and biting social commentary. if you like this, move on to Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said or A Scanner Darkly. PK Dick is a real treat for the mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book by Philip K. Dick was a very quick read. The beginning of the book doesn't move so quickly, but once you get into the book, things start moving fairly fast. The book is primarily about one man's encounter with androids that have escaped and turned to killing humans. He is a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Dept. and gets paid to 'retire' these rogue androids. When he receives a larger assignment than usual, some unexpected things happen when he is forced to fight the most advanced androids in existence, the Nexus-6 series of android. The way in which the author portrays the world adds a lot to the story and helps make a lot of the other things in the story that most people would normally take for granted make sense. However, at the same time, it can be seen as a sort of a dystopian view of the world (most everything is destroyed, people are grouped into 'regulars' and 'specials' based on how much brain damage they have received from nuclear fallout, etc), so if you don't enjoy that sort of book, this is probably not the book for you. If you're looking for a sci-fi thriller, this is also not the book. There are not very many action scenes in this book, instead philosophical ideas fill in this gap. I personally enjoyed the book. I believe most people would as well, if they can find the story engaging (easier after reading the first few chapters). It is definitely worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have ever read.
RichardSutton More than 1 year ago
I hadn't read PK Dick since the late 1960s, and since I enjoyed Blade Runner so much, I thought I should see what the writer had to say. Of course, it came as no surprise that the movie follows a different path. If they had stayed true to the books, no one would have seen the film. This is a dark and very sad novel. Reading it, as a fully-conceived idea of the world of the Nuclear Winter I was struck,over and over again by the persistence of both human denial and human ascendancy, despite all odds to the contrary. These people still find things to care about, even though there is little reason to. Unlike the feeble triumph of Cormac McCarthy's characters in The Road, Dick's characters gain nothing and once the bounty hunter has discovered how his work is actually affecting him, he understands the futility in life itself continuing under these conditions. The extremely touching counterpoint to the violence of his occupation is his own search for an animal to love -- one that actually needs him. The image of the rooftop pasture occupied by a robotic sheep is one of the most pathetic visions I have ever absorbed. This book left me sad, and without a great deal of hope for the future in the face of the hubris of our species. It is a master work, make no mistake. The writing held me throughout and only lapsed into murkiness when it fit the story, enhancing my emotional response to Dick's well-chosen words. I highly recommend this, but it is not a rollicking chase adventure like the movie was. The androids he hunts down are also not dreamy philosophers, like Rutger Hauer's character in the movie. They are barely passable, utility replicas with no redemption.
blutarski More than 1 year ago
It's a shorter book but still dives deep enough to completely develop the main characters and the plot. It truly makes you wonder what things are actually alive
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While hard to follow at times (as is normal with PKD), it's a great book! Hard to put down!
Anonymous 3 days ago
Of rainy polluted city plot changed drastically book inconsistant
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the stupidest book I have ever read and I've read a lot of books. Failed as science fiction, failed as mystery. Poor writing and so disjointed it was difficult to follow at times. So many well written, well crafted books out there, I'm sorry I wasted my money on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
catburglar More than 1 year ago
Interesting; mostly well-written. An enjoyable novel about humans and androids, interactions between them, and philosophical principles about their similarities and differences. The parts about the mood organ, the electric animals and Mercerism were pretty weird.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that everyone *says* they've read, but few actually have. It's a classic for a reason, and it only has a passing resemblance to the movie, so if you've seen the movie, you still don't know this book. Read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The gateway drug of science fiction. A true classic.
ryanseanoreilly More than 1 year ago
A mind-bending dystopian hero’s quest through the looking glass? Summary: An impending sense of desperation pervades this gloomy romp of Dick’s arguably most famous work. The author’s prose, sometimes criticized, is a swift reading. In trying to keep up with the schizophrenic twists and turns of the story—I think that the digestible writing is well balanced. Though the dialog can be stiff in parts there is so much depth in what is going on, the work as a whole would suffer if weighed down by verbose diction. Podcast: If you enjoy my review (or this topic) this book and the movie based on it were further discussed/debated in a lively discussion on my podcast: “No Deodorant In Outer Space”. The podcast is available on iTunes or our website: [...]. *** * *** SPOILER WARNING **** * *** Review: Rick Deckard is chasing after six renegade androids in a post-apocalyptic earth. He’s a government agent/bounty hunter, whose main task is retiring escaped androids who are trying to blend in among humans. Sounds dangerous and exciting? Maybe. However, Dick gives the character a sort of “everyman” approach. Deckard is good at what he does, but it’s just a means to an end. And what is that? Well, that’s life baby. Deckard is just trying to get through the day like everyone else, and bring home a decent paycheck so he can afford the latest, coveted creature-comforts. In this world, that means real-life “animals.” Deckard needs to make money so he can buy a live “animal,” now a luxury in a world where nearly everything seems to be rock, plastic, metal or kipple (more on that later). World War Terminus has already rocked the planet sending a vast majority of human emigrants into the skies to establish new colonies on mars. The earth has emptied out a good number of people, and for good reason as the planet’s covered in radioactive dust. So many animals have since died off, that now it’s considered “chic” to own one. So much so that a whole cottage industry has rose up around creating fake robot animals complemented with fake veterinarians. In keeping up with appearances, Deckard replaced his recently died sheep with a robotic one. And yet he can’t quite get over it. He want’s a real one damn it, and he’ll destroy as many androids as he has to so he can make enough money to do so. He needs to. His marriage with wife Iran is strained. Everyday they dial-in their appropriate feeling for the day through the help of a bedside console known as a Mood Organ. One of my favorite lines of the book is when Deckard is trying to get his wife to dial in a happier mood from the console and she resists claiming: “My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.” (!) And yet, even though Deckard also tries to enhance his mood with the console he remains gloomy. He’s out their searching, looking for some kind of connection. His job is starting to weigh heavy on him and all he can do is hold out a little longer until he can find that next “thing” to set matters right. Iran (and Deckard to a different extent), finds some solace in the world religion known as Mercerism. The faith is a sort of communal virtual-reality experience where people of the world connect with one and another by watching a repetitive video of an old messiah-like figure plodding through a barren landscape of rocks. Mercer (the mysterious figure) toils along while getting occasionally stoned (and I don’t mean with drugs) by unseen forces, until he goes over this giant hill into the mysterious Tomb World. For some inexplicable reason, the worshipers, who engage this religion (also through a handheld console), experience the stoning. They even come away from the engagement with real-life injuries (though not severely). Iran seems to get something from this religion, a sense of belonging, a sense of community, which may be important in a world where mankind is slowly being siphoned away to distant planets. Whether or not this religion is genuine is up for debate – but then, that’s faith. There is an interesting subplot woven through the story where a 24-hour vapid TV personality host attempts to debunk this would-be messiah as a fake. Dick manages to blend the lines between the virtual, spiritual, and physical world in a way that makes the reader question what is real (in a good way). Can we ever really know? Deckard finds that Mercerism, or his faith, or is it his humanity, cannot be so easily dismissed by a television expose. As the messiah character toils uphill amid flying rocks, the reader can’t help but feel Deckard’s plight. Retire some androids. Make a little money. Buy something fancy. Then do it all again. Why? What’s the point? Mercerism seems to indicate that that is the point of everything. That’s what we all do. We slowly climb our hills, get a few rocks flung at us, and keep going. To where? The Tomb World? Who knows. The point is, we all have to do it. Nobody is exempt. It’s just a little easier to take when we can commiserate our woes with everyone else. To know we are not alone. That’s what makes us human. Separates us from the androids. Good old-fashioned “empathy”. In fact, that’s virtually the only way (besides bone marrow testing which will require a warrant) Deckard can determine if someone is really a some thing. Deckard must administer a verbal psychological test and monitor the reaction of the suspect with the help of yet another special device. But as technology increases, the androids are becoming harder and harder to detect—some of the androids don’t even know themselves that they are androids due to false memory implants (in classic Dick fashion even robots have to question what’s real and what’s not). In a great plot point, the author let’s us know that the tried and true “Voight-Kampf” android test has flaws. Apparently, people with mental issues or “flat affects” might elicit a false positive which puts Deckard in a conundrum because he doesn’t want to be blowing away real-life humans. The fear of finding a false-positive is not fully realized though. Much like the fear that the androids are going to “retire” Deckard before he can retire them. Dick shies away from action-packed cliff-hangers. We don’t completely fear the danger that Deckard will be killed off by an android, even though his predecessor was severely hospitalized by one and unable to speak to him about it. As other reviewers have pointed out, many of the android confrontations are over as quickly as they start. To his credit, I think this keeps the focus on the more important esoteric questions being raised rather than the adventure story used to illuminate the issues. We are there, with Deckard, wondering just as he is, why he’s doing it all? If he’s killed off, we’ll that’s not the main stake here—his sanity, sense of self, sense of morality—those are the things at stake. Even though the androids are definitely not human, they act and feel much like humans. Deckard sees this and he struggles with it, sympathizing for the androids he is seeking to destroy. One of the female androids, Rachel, seduces Deckard, putting him in a very precarious position as she tries to influence his actions. Things get really weird (is that even possible) when Deckard is picked up by the police, who seem to know nothing about him. This is Dick in his complete mastery. Deckard is held at a “second” separate police station and questioned in such a manner that we really begin to doubt who the androids really are. Is Deckard an android? Are these “other” policemen androids? Deckard even gives himself the “Voight-Kampf” psychological test at some point. Near the end, Deckard is really questioning himself and Rachel’s influence weighs heavily. Still, he plods along, determined to finish what he’s started. The messiah-like figure Wilbur Mercer (hence “Mercerism”) suddenly appears in the real world (as opposed to the one on the tv screens which may or may not be real) to help him through. For me, the most jolting scene in the whole book is when Deckard comes home after having completed his mission. After knowing he’s earned his bounties he decided to finance the purchase of a real-life goat. It’s a capitalistic bid for happiness, but Deckard seems sincere in his effort. After all his hard work and toil he comes home only to be told by Iran that Rachel (the android he’s spared), pushed the goat off their building to its death. Deckard seems to have done all for naught. This would have been a real poignant place to end. However, we continue on with the character for a few more chapters when he lumps it, and heads out into the vast desolate wilds of the world. Again, things go from strange to stranger when Deckard begins toiling up a real life rocky hillside that too closely resembles the one Wilbur Mercer is always climbing. When at last he comes down again, he happens upon a little toad. Amazed, he looks up the animal in his trusty catalog and finds out they are supposed to be extinct. Suddenly, everything looks hopeful again. To have a found a real life animal—an extinct one! He’ll be able to sell the thing for untold riches. Deckard races back home to share the news with his wife. Tenderly she flips the animal over and points to the electrical panel beneath. Another fake. Defeat again. Yet, Deckard returns home, not to plug in to the mood organ and zone out of life. Instead, he falls asleep. Unaided and disconnected from the artificial technologies of his world. He seems to get some comfort from being near to his wife instead of all the contraptions of the world. And, the android Rachel, by killing his goat, has shown him the foolishness of letting his happiness rely solely on materialistic things. Perhaps Deckard’s relentless pursuit of the androids was rote and mechanical. Was Deckard acting the part of the android in his role as bounty hunter? Did the androids act more like living things in their urge to resist “retirement” (or death)? Maybe Dick was trying to say that it is our actions that define us, rather than what we may claim to be?
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